Vauxhall Grandland GS Line Plug-In Hybrid-E 1.6 Turbo review.
For – great looks, decent quality, well equipped, good all-rounder.
Against – battery capacity exaggerated*
Competition – Jeep Renegade, Ford Kuga, Peugeot 3008, Renault Captur, Mini Countryman, Suzuki Across, MG HS, Hyundai Tucson, Kia Sportage, Mitsubishi Outlander, Citroen C5 Aircross, DS 7
The bad news is the battery for the Grandland plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) never came close to the claimed capacity of 39 miles.
The good news? *That didn’t really matter.
The fact I managed only an average 26.7 miles per recharge didn’t undermine my thesis that PHEVs are the way to go in the electric world because for most of my daily driving needs that would have been quite sufficient. During my week with the car, I managed an effective 171.8 mpg, and raised the vehicle’s average fuel efficiency from 45 mpg to 76.2 mpg.
For me and the average motorist, local driving, even with this limited battery-only range, meant it was almost all electric only. And, of course, range anxiety is eliminated, and long journeys are possible. The battery is small so it’s much cheaper and squanders less resources. What’s not to like?
Vauxhall claims it will achieve overall fuel economy of 192 mpg, which is plainly ridiculous and subjective given this depends entirely on how much you decide to opt for battery-only driving. If owned the car, it would almost always use no petrol at all.
In another example of green axe-grinders forcing out the good in the search for perfection, PHEVs are currently soon to go the way of internal combustion engines on the scrap heap. Sent there by feeble politicians afraid of getting on the wrong side of lefty, tree-hugging maniacs.
Why is this happening? Some fleet operators have been gaming the system. They buy a fleet of PHEVs, pocket the lavish government subsidies (I’m talking pan-European here), while their drivers who have subsidized petrol don’t bother to use the electric option, which to be fair might well actually be a pain in the rear if you only do long journeys. The end result is because PHEVs are much heavier than standard vehicles, they end up exhaling more CO2 than the petrol or diesel models.
Suzuki Across my favorite
But if you’re a private motorist with only short-term needs but who would like the option to occasionally go long, PHEVs are a great choice. In fact, my favorite PHEV so far is the Suzuki Across which managed just under 50 miles of electric-only driving.
The Vauxhall Grandland is a close relative of the Peugeot 3008 and 5008, and both companies are now stablemates of the Stellantis conglomerate. Other brands include Opel, Citroen, Fiat, Jeep, Lancia, Chrysler, DS, and Alfa Romeo.
The Grandland GS Line starts at £33,820. The Ultimate, with added extras like Advanced Park Assist, Highway Integration Assist, side blind spot alert and a 360-degree reversing camera, starts at £37,375.
The Grandland was very impressive overall. It was certainly handsome, with much exterior detailing to raise the quality of the appearance. The grey and black metallic paint job was impressive. On the road the performance was plenty fast enough. The interior was smart with all the bits and pieces you’d expect. The boot was big, but not very well designed if you had loading golf gear in mind. Every time I drive a big SUV that won’t allow my golf bag to rest east/west, I look admiringly at my trusty old little Honda Jazz which can do that no problem.
The digital instrument cluster is available in either seven or 12-inch displays, depending on vehicle specification, while the central touchscreen, which is angled towards the driver, comes in seven or 10-inch sizes. There’s every computerised safety device known to man.
“The Grandland is packed with family-friendly convenience features. Wireless smartphone charging is available and provides the easiest way of keeping compatible devices topped up, without the need for untidy wires trailing around the cabin. USB sockets are also available for both front and rear passengers and the rear of the centre console is available with a 230V power outlet to charge laptops or tablets,” the blurb says.
Different driving modes
Every Grandland features Apple CarPlay™ and Android Auto™ for seamless smartphone connectivity.
Customers can choose from three options by opting to preserve either six-miles, 12 miles or the maximum EV range depending in the precise nature of their trip. With the MyVauxhall app. Drivers can select three different driving modes –
• Hybrid is the default mode and offers the best of both worlds, optimising fuel efficiency and driving performance
• Sport draws on the combined power of the engine and electric motor for maximum power and performance
• Electric activates the electric motor only, providing hushed zero-emissionsin-use driving.
Brake Energy Recovery allows Grandland to recover kinetic energy generated under braking to recharge on the battery. That worked very effectively.
What to buy
There is a surprisingly large number of plug-in hybrid SUVs in this value segment – starting at around £30,000 – and all but one so far – the Suzuki Across – has limited 25 to 30 mile electric-only range on a good day. But I found that was quite enough to allow electric-only driving in the Grandland most of the time. The Suzuki has almost 50 miles electric range and is far superior to this bunch. Sadly, it’s much more expensive and should really be in the same category as Volvos, BMWs, Lexus, and Mercedes. The lack of 4-wheel drive will also discourage some Grandland buyers. I’ve always liked the Mitsubishi Outlander in this segment, but that’s also at the top end of the price range. Given the ability of the Suzuki and its super quality (thanks to the relationship with Toyota), my choice would be to go for a low-mileage 2-year old Across but as I write that I’m thinking because of the weird state of the market now, that might well actually cost more than a new one!
|Vauxhall Grandland GS Line Plug-In Hybrid-E 1.6 Turbo|
|Combined power:||222 hp|
|Combined torque:||360 Nm|
|Electric Power:||109 hp @ 2,5000|
|Torque:||320 Nm @ 500-2,500|
|Petrol Power:||1.6 litre 4-cylinder turbo 178 hp @6,000 rpm|
|Torque:||300 Nm @ 3,000|
|Electric only range:||claimed 39 miles WLTP|
|WintonsWorld average:||26.7 miles from 7 refills|
|Overall fuel economy claim:||192 mpg|
|WintonsWorld average:||171.8 mpg|
|Acceleration:||0-60 mph 8.9 seconds|
|Top Speed:||140 mph|
|Boot capacity:||390/1,528 litres|
|Competition:||PHEV SUVs – Jeep Renegade, Ford Kuga, Peugeot 3008, Renault Captur, Mini Countryman, Suzuki Across, MG HS, Hyundai Tucson, Kia Sportage, Mitsubishi Outlander, Citroen C5 Aircross, DS 7|
|Price:||£33,820 (metallic paint £600)|
|For:||great looks, decent quality, well equipped, good all-rounder|
|Against:||battery capacity exaggerated|